The eyes have it: Dinosaurs hunted by night

The movie Jurassic Park got one thing right: Those velociraptors hunted by night while the big plant-eaters browsed around the clock, according to a new study of the eyes of fossil animals. The study will be published online ...

The eloquence of the otoliths

Fish fossils that are about 23 million years old give unprecedented insight into the evolutionary history of the gobioid order, one of the most species-rich groups among the modern bony fishes.

A new computational method for timing the tree of life

With its deeply embedded roots, sturdy trunk and dense profusion of branches, the Tree of Life is a structure of nearly unfathomable complexity and beauty. While major strides have been made to establish the evolutionary ...

A clearer picture of how assassin bugs evolved

Assassin bugs, so named because these insects lie in ambush for prey that they attack with speed and precision, are found all over the world. Nearly 140 species of these bugs are blood-sucking; because they can bite humans ...

New technique fills gaps in fossil record

University of Pennsylvania evolutionary biologists have resolved a long-standing paleontological problem by reconciling the fossil record of species diversity with modern DNA samples.

Orchids and fungi: An unexpected case of symbiosis

The majority of orchids are found in habitats where light may be a limiting factor. In such habitats it is not surprising that many achlorophyllous (lacking chlorophyll), as well as green, orchids depend on specific mycorrhizal ...

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Phylogenetics

In biology, phylogenetics (pronounced /faɪlɵdʒɪˈnɛtɪks/) is the study of evolutionary relatedness among groups of organisms (e.g. species, populations), which is discovered through molecular sequencing data and morphological data matrices. The term phylogenetics derives from the Greek terms phyle (φυλή) and phylon (φῦλον), denoting “tribe” and “race”; and the term genetikos (γενετικός), denoting “relative to birth”, from genesis (γένεσις) “birth”.

Taxonomy, the classification, identification, and naming of organisms, is richly informed by phylogenetics, but remains methodologically and logically distinct. The fields of phylogenetics and taxonomy overlap in the science of phylogenetic systematics — one methodology, cladism (also cladistics) shared derived characters (synapomorphies) used to create ancestor-descendant trees (cladograms) and delimit taxa (clades). In biological systematics as a whole, phylogenetic analyses have become essential in researching the evolutionary tree of life.

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